20,000 troops axed in army restructuring moves
The British Army is to be divided into two parts, with 20,000 troops being axed in a “fundamental restructuring” process which aims to make the force “more flexible and agile”.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told the House of Commons that the number of ordinary soldiers will fall from 102,000 to 82,000, although reservists will double to 30,000 in the Army 2020 plans.
The restructuring will result in two parts, reaction forces and adaptable forces. Hammond said, “The reaction forces will generate high-readiness, contingent capability, trained and equipped to undertake the full spectrum of intervention tasks, including provision of forces for the first phases of any future brigade-scale enduring operation”. He announced that now is a good time to plan cuts as we edge closer to 2014, when Britain’s combat role in Afghanistan is due to end.
Troops to be axed are the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment.
Hammond continued: “After a decade of enduring operations, we needed to transform the arm and build a balanced, capable and adaptable force. Army 2020 will create a more flexible and agile army”.
However, campaigns are springing up across the country to halt the proposed cuts as communities reel at the decision to break apart historic battalions and terminate the careers of thousands of soldiers and officers.
The news also comes as a further blow to troops, who were promised help and support from the government pre-2010 elections. In the past two years troops have already faced pay cuts, had their pensions threatened and had vital equipment axed, and commanders are more frequently having to seek out profit-making firms to source supplies for the front-line.